Euro NCAP marks 20 years of testing new cars

  • Euro NCAP testing has helped save more than 78,000 lives since the 1997 introduction
  • Cars of today are now the safest ever after 1,800 car crash tests carried out costing 160 million Euros
  • New tests are developed as more and more safety innovations are added to new cars

To mark the great occasion Euro NCAP and Thatcham Research lined up a current model Honda Jazz alongside a 1997 Rover 100 and crashed them both into a deformable barrier at 40mph. The setup is intended to show how superior the modern car is when compared to 20 years ago. For our viewing pleasure the test was also filmed.

This is one of the standard crash tests by Euro NCAP, designed to simulate a head on collision with only 40% of the vehicle hitting the aluminium crash barrier.

So, overall, as you can see the new Honda Jazz did very well as you’d expect from one of the safest super-minis on sale with five stars in the Euro NCAP testing.

The Rover 100 was chosen due to it being one of seven cars tested in the very beginning of the safety group’s history back in 1997. The 100 scored very poorly as you can probably tell from the video and gained just 1 star when it was put through its paces.

Thatcham commented on the rover’s impact damage and said that within a quarter of a second the damage sustained was serious enough to cause major life threatening injury and leave the occupants trapped inside. As you can see in the clip above the difference in safety is staggering, the Honda Jazz occupants would have just sustained probable bruising from the very same impact with the doors remaining accessible for them to walk away.

Rover 100 from 1997 Euro NCAP test aftermath

Before NCAP and 1997 manufacturers only had to meet basic crash test requirements for new cars and the results? what results? none of them were ever published. Consumers found it impossible to compare the safety from one vehicle to another.

Modern Honda Jazz Euro NCAP test aftermath

Another thing Euro NCAP can be proud of is the safety equipment that used to optional or non- existent is now standard on many models like curtain airbags, traction control, seat belt pre-tensioners and whiplash protecting seats. The very latest in technology aimed at preventing crashes like autonomous braking that has been optional over the last couple of years, is now being added as standard by manufacturers to remain competitive in the safety ratings.